Let’s face it; no one really wants to do a fundraiser. You do it because you have to. Hopefully you’re planning your sale carefully and are doing your due diligence on picking the right program.
As you search the internet you’ll find many companies that are competing for your business. Many are ethical and have good intentions; however, others will tell you things that sound good on paper but don’t work out so well once you put them to the test.
Therefore, before you sign with a school fundraising company, make sure to ask them these 10 questions:
1. How long have they been in business?
Most companies come and go on a regular basis. It’s relatively easy to copy what other companies are already doing. A lot of ‘me-too’ companies have done nothing but overcrowd the marketplace. You’ll need to dig a little deeper in order to separate out the pretenders from the real thing.
2. Do they offer fulltime customer service?
Many companies rely on often overextended outside sales reps to both sell to as well as service their customers. It’s more important that you find out how their customer service department works and how quickly they’re able to resolve any issues that may arise.
3. Can they provide testimonials or references?
If they don't have a good track-record you may not receive this information. Instead, look for a school fundraising company that has a strong track record and can provide the testimonials and unbiased feedback you need to make an informed decision.
4. Does the company provide a fundraising manual?
You may have questions after your rep leaves the school. Getting a hold of them can sometimes be difficult. Alternatively, look for a company that can provide the steps you need to effectively run your sale in writing. There are a lot of things that you can easily forget once the rep leaves.
5. Are they offering you an exclusive sales brochure?
Many companies offer the same brochure to other nearby schools. This often happens with local sales reps who are attempting to saturate a given area. Make sure you find out if any other schools in your area will be selling out of the same brochure. This could have a big impact on your sales.
6. Do they only offer one type of prize program?
Many schools have expressed concern over using the same cheap junky prize program year after year. And unfortunately most companies only offer one type. This often leads to seller boredom and can have a negative effect on participation. You should instead look for a school fundraising company that offers several types of prize programs options that may prove to be a better fit for your students.
7. Will they prepack your merchandise by student?
You may think that most companies now days automatically prepack but seller. Think again. Make sure to ask, otherwise you may be left having to sort your merchandise before issuing it to your sellers to take home.
8. Do they offer a 100% item replacement policy?
Some companies require damaged merchandise to be returned as proof before you can get them replaced. They usually won't reimburse you for the shipping cost either. Look for a company that doesn’t require having to return any damaged merchandise at all. This will make your life a lot easier.
9. Can they claim near 100% order fulfillment accuracy?
Some companies use other packing companies to pack their products for them. These packing warehouses are sometimes over a thousand miles away. Quality control and accuracy can be an issue. Make sure your company packs their items right in their warehouse. Companies that have invested in updated technology can ensure almost 100% accuracy when filling orders, which helps make for a smooth delivery.
10. Will you receive a comprehensive sales report?
Some companies only invoice their schools. Your company should also provide a detailed sales report showing a breakdown of the total items sold and the items sold by individual sellers. You should also be able to see which classrooms or teams sold the most. This will help you when giving out things like sales awards.